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A new positioning system using television synchronization signals

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2 Author(s)
Rabinowitz, M. ; Stanford Univ., Rosum Corp., Redwood City, CA, USA ; Spilker, J.J., Jr.

The technique discussed herein may be used to position a range of wireless devices that require location information when in inclement urban conditions, including PDA's, laptops, cellular phones, asset-tracking devices and radios for emergency response personnel. We make use of synchronization signals that are part of the standard for Television set forth by the Advanced Television Systems Committee. Consequently, the technique described herein requires no changes to the television broadcast stations. The signal can accommodate robust indoor positioning where the Global Positioning System (GPS) fails, since the television synchronization signals typically have a power advantage over GPS of more than 40 dB. In addition, the effects of multipath are substantially mitigated since the signals have a bandwidth of roughly 6 MHz, and substantially superior geometry for triangulating lateral position to that which GPS can typically provide in inclement environments. A wide range of VHF and UHF frequencies have been allocated to television stations; consequently, there is redundancy built into the system to protect against deep fades on particular channels. In addition, unlike GPS, the synch signals are not affected by transmitter Doppler, ionospheric propagation delays, or data that is modulated onto the signals. In overview, the technology exploits the considerable Digital TV infrastructure to achieve more reliable, accurate and rapid positioning than can be achieved with existing technologies.

Published in:

Broadcasting, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:51 ,  Issue: 1 )